Software company rises at stock debut

TOM PULLAR-STRECKER
Last updated 05:00 26/06/2014

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The sharemarket float of software workhorse Gentrack has proved just the tonic to help calm the nerves of jittery tech sector investors.

Shares in the business software company traded at a solid 18 cent premium to their $2.40 issue price as Kiwi tech stocks stabilised in the wake of their horror morning on Tuesday.

Gentrack shares closed up 3.8 per cent at $2.49, valuing the Auckland firm at $182 million.

James Smalley, an adviser at broker Hamilton Hindin Greene, said the recent volatility of tech stocks and the cancellation of Hirepool's planned float might have encouraged some of the shareholders to sell their stakes.

"Once that selling dries up we might see the stock creep up, but time will tell. Unlike some listings where you are just buying growth prospects with the risk-return that involves, Gentrack is a solid business which has been around a long time and is paying dividends," he said.

Gentrack's initial public offering was heavily oversubscribed.

The company's prospectus forecast a gross dividend yield of about 6.5 per cent next year based on the $2.40 issue price.

Gentrack chairman John Clifford believed the company could grow its revenues and profits at an annual rate of 15 per cent over the long term.

Gentrack sells billing and business software for utilities and airports and Clifford said it had good visibility over its sales pipeline because "companies don't decide to change their billing systems at short notice".

He said last month that the biggest potential risk investors faced was that the company might botch an implementation for a major client and suffer reputational damage.

"Some projects are more difficult than others, but we haven't had any implementation failures," he said. Xero shares closed down 1.2 per cent at $25.62 yesterday, after falling as low as $23 on Tuesday.

Shares in travel management software company Serko, which debuted on the exchange on Tuesday, were up 6.3 per cent at $1.01, but still 9c shy of their issue price.

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Gentrack provides software that helps generate bills, collate data from electricity and water meters and manage airport check-in systems and flight information boards for 150 utilities and airport in 20 countries.

Gentrack is a small, mainly regional player in a global market dominated by just two giants: the United States' Oracle and Germany's SAP.

Gentrack earns just over half its revenues in Australia, just under a third in New Zealand and 15 per cent from the rest of the world.

It employs 180 staff in Auckland, Melbourne and London.

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